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A Rocky Mountain Wedding in Canada

By Alexandra Macon | Photography by 

Phil Crozier

Townsend Elizabeth Lloyd, the Senior Events Manager at Luxe Interiors + Design magazine, and Andrew Lyons Katz, and investment banking associate at Morgan Stanley, met while attending Rollins College, but they didn’t start dating until both had graduated and moved to New York. “My roommate sophomore year had several classes with Andy and was on a mission to set us up,” remembers Townsend. “She even recorded one of his in-class presentations on her phone so I could hear how funny he was.” Despite her efforts, college wasn’t their moment. A few years later, they re-connected at a mutual friend’s birthday party in the city and started dating in the fall of 2011.

A few years later, Andy was working in consulting and traveling Monday through Thursday most weeks. “He had mentioned that he would be home on a particular Monday as he had meetings locally and suggested we go to dinner at Little Owl, our favorite restaurant in the West Village,” says Townsend. “I thought it was a nice idea, especially as I was headed to San Francisco the following day for a business trip and wouldn’t see him until the weekend when we planned to head to Canada to visit my family.”

At the end of the meal, the waitress brought over a little black book with the check. It is tradition at Little Owl to sign the book at the end of your meal. “When I opened the book to sign it, there were two pages filled with photos of us and the words ‘Will you marry me?’ After I read it about four times, I finally looked up and saw Andy down on one knee with a ring,” says Townsend. “It took me some time to get over the shock factor, but I of course said yes and the excitement began to set in!” Friends of theirs who’d gotten married the weekend before sent champagne to their table to help them celebrate.

When they arrived home at their apartment later that night, Andy’s brother and sister-in-law were there with more Champagne and cupcakes to continue the celebration. “They had dressed our dogs up as a bride and groom!” laughs Townsend.

In the weeks following their engagement, Andy was accepted to the Yale School of Management, and it quickly became clear that they would be moving to New Haven together. Once there, they started planning their August 22nd wedding in Canada, where Townsend is from.

“Immediately after our engagement, I had to hop on a plane to San Francisco for work,” recalls Townsend. “I was there for work, but it was difficult to focus with a new accessory on my left hand and a week at home with my family just around the corner. I spent most of the 5 hour flight thinking about venue’s and making lists.”

That weekend the couple was reunited at Townsend’s family farm in Canada. On a picture perfect summer night, they started discussing venue options around New York City and Palm Desert, CA where Townsend’s mom spends time. They also thought about venues in Napa and Sonoma as Townsend had just gotten back from the Bay Area and Andy’s family has roots there. “As we contemplated various options, it was hard not to look around and find the most obvious answer,” says Townsend. “The view of the Rockies from our property is gorgeous and the grounds around the house make a lovely setting for an event. The charm and the feeling of home I get when I’m there just made it feel like the right choice. The property has been in my family for over 30 years and was a big part of my childhood. It was also a bonus that the venue had no limits on space or time. We wanted to include all of our friends and make sure the dancing went well into the morning. Given the location, we did not have the option of an after-party so the main event needed to keep guests entertained.”

While the couple had decided on a rural wedding in Alberta, the bride was adamant about it not feeling too rustic. “I took much of the decor inspiration from Blue Hill at Stone Barns and focused on making the event sophisticated and modern while at the same time honoring the beauty of the natural landscape, the property’s infrastructure, and my western roots,” explains Townsend. “I wanted the evening to be formal but not stuffy.”

The weekend kicked off on Thursday with a Friends & Family Polo Tailgate at the Black Diamond Polo Club, Townsend’s family’s club. The event served as a fun welcome activity for guests coming in from out of town and for locals to meet all of the visitors from the East Coast. The majority of the players in the match were family, including Townsend’s grandfather, sister, and 12-year-old cousin. After the polo game, Townsend and Andy’s families gathered at her grandmother’s farm for a hay ride, pheasant pot pie, and a visit with the Calgary Stampede Wild Horses. “My grandmother hosts 100 wild horses on her property every summer, it was fun to see the reactions of our East Coast family,” admits Townsend.

In typical Rocky Mountain fashion, it snowed two inches the evening before the wedding. “And yes, this was in August!” says Townsend, still a little perturbed. “I did my best to take the news in stride and had a very positive support team convincing me it would all be okay. I actually stood up at the rehearsal dinner and suggested guests purchase cowboy boots at the local western wear supplier as the ground would be very wet. The morning of the wedding, a very wonderful grounds crew shoveled the lawn and set up industrial fans to dry the area. The good news about the weather in Alberta is that it changes quickly. Our actual wedding day ended up being 75 degrees and sunny all day so the snow melted quickly and left just the right amount of snow on the Rocky Mountains to make it arguably one of the most beautiful days of the year at Rocky Mountain Ranch.”

Andy’s sister-in-law, Jessie, was instrumental in helping Townsend find her wedding dress. “Because my mom lives in western Canada, she wasn’t available for multiple shopping trips,” explains Townsend. “Jessie worked with June at Bergdorf Goodman’s bridal salon and quickly made introductions as I began my search. I went back to June several times, but one dress that I tried on during an Oscar de la Renta trunk show continued to stick out in my mind. As soon as I tried it on a second time, I knew it was the one. Jessie was with me and we toasted with Champagne at the BG bar!”

Knowing that the evenings can be cool in Western Canada, Townsend had cashmere shawls made for herself and all of her bridesmaids. “I had them fabricated by Artigiani Milanesi out of Bowen Island, BC,” says Townsend. “Rosa Palmira Feroldi, the founder of Artigiani Milanesi worked for Loro Piana and Kiton prior to starting her own boutique out of Bowen Island. Her son, Davide and daughter-in-law, Rebecca, have become close family friends.” The bridesmaids wore varying hues of gray and blue Amsale dresses.

Townsend accessorized her dress with pave diamond Cartier earrings her dad gave her mom for their 10th wedding anniversary and blue satin Manolo Blahnik heels. “In keeping with the understated theme of the evening, I wanted my accessories to be simple,” she says. “I really felt like the dress spoke for itself!”

She wore her hair up as she was concerned about wind. “I have very straight hair and wanted a style that I would not have to fuss with throughout the evening,” explains Townsend. “I brought Halli Bivona from John Barrett home with me. She is just amazing, and I could not have imagined the weekend without her. She kept my make up very natural and simple.”

The ceremony took place on the west lawn overlooking the beautiful Rocky Mountains at 5:00 PM. There was a string quartet playing as Townsend walked down the aisle. A long time family friend, David Bissett, married the couple. “David and his wife, Leslie, are old friends of my grandparents and have joined us on many family vacations and spent many Christmases with us,” says Townsend. “Our ceremony was spiritual but not religious, it focused on love, communication, and compromise.”

After the ceremony, guests gathered on the West Lawn for cocktails and canapés and live music by bridesmaid Tamsin Wilson, a musician and artist in Brooklyn. Some guests played croquet while others mingled on the lawn. Townsend’s grandfather stepped out onto the upper terrace with a french horn to call guests to dinner, everyone then moved to the Southeast Lawn for a tented reception. The meal was served family style—“I always love the variety and the opportunity to try a little bit of everything,” says Townsend. “I also love farm to table style of dining as I think it promotes conversation and engagement at the table, I felt it was appropriate for the setting.”

The couple worked with Sal Howell, owner and proprietor of River Cafe and her events manager, Kelly Beames. “Sal is on the forefront of sustainability and a leading female Restauranteur in Canada and throughout North America. She took a very hands on approach to the whole event, curating much of the space and playing an integral role in the run of show for the evening,” says Townsend. She served seasonally inspired Canadian cuisine with a variety of plant based options, pacific wild salmon and heritage angus beef tenderloin. Guests enjoyed a variety of cheeses, sweets, and wedding cake for dessert.

After dinner, the newlyweds cut the cake on the dance floor and began their first dance as husband and wife. Guests partied until the early hours of the morning, breaking only for a midnight snack of grilled cheese and s’mores. “My 73-year-old grandfather was the last one to leave the dance floor, breaking out his collection of vintage french horns for a horn off with a handful of groomsmen around 3:00 A.M.,” laughs Townsend.

Finally the last 10 standing, including the bride and groom, curled up by the fire with a bottle of red wine as Sal from River Cafe made fresh grilled cheeses for the group to snack on while they waited for transportation to arrive. “It was unplanned but a perfect ending to the night!”